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Restaurants, bars and gyms have been hit hard by a commercial curfew that will remain in place until at least February 6.

South Korea on Friday unveiled a 14 trillion won ($11.75 billion) supplemental budget to support the self-employed and small businesses that have been hit hard by the extended COVID-19 restrictions.

Some 11.5 trillion won will be used to help small business owners offset their losses caused by the extension of virus-related measures, the Finance Ministry said.

Another 1.5 trillion won is intended to secure COVID-19 treatment pills for 400,000 people and 25,000 hospital beds.

The other trillion won will be used as contingency reserves in case the Omicron variant of the coronavirus spreads further and requires more support.

To finance the additional stimulus, the government will issue 11.3 trillion won of Treasury bonds and use 2.7 trillion won of public fund reserves.

Presidential election

The additional budget, due to be presented to parliament on Monday, comes at a time when the ruling Democratic Party is struggling to regain public support just weeks before the country’s 2022 presidential election.

With the latest supplemental budget, total government spending would rise to a record 621.7 trillion won this year, adding to the already approved budget of 607.7 trillion won.

That would be an 11.4 percent increase from the original 2021 budget, while also expected to push the public debt-to-gross domestic product ratio to a record 50.1 percent.

South Korea extended its stricter social distancing rules for three more weeks, including a 9 p.m. curfew for restaurants, cafes and bars and a limited size of private gatherings, amid concerns about an impending wave of the variant. highly contagious Omicron, especially before the Lunar New Year. Holidays.

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